Friday, November 26, 2010

Chocolate Cupcake Cookies!

I'm super excited about these cookies. First of all, they taste stupidly good! I mean stupidly good because I was stupid enough to eat most of the raw dough. They taste like rich brownies... and they make adorable chocolate cupcake cookies! I made these cookies to honor a couple of hard working students - a celebration for hard work. Too bad they didn't get to eat them because of the snow day we had. I had to make another dessert for them instead (which I'll post later).

Chocolate? Okay, so you can't quite see the cookies behind the icing, but that's okay. I've been working hard to make the cupcake cookie look cute. I had a great idea when I made them, but I truly believe the strong colours were too much. I wish I had some pastel type of dye (rather than the Wilton kinds I have now). I need to order Americolor!

Chocolate? Check out this picture instead! OH :: drools :: cookie-licious!

Are you drooling yet? Well, I'll share the recipe with you. Seriously, give it a shot!

Chocolate Brownie Cookies:

1 tbsp instant coffee
1/2 c cocoa (good dark chocolate cocoa - almost forgot this part!Thanks Christie!)
1 tbsp warm water
1 cup butter or margarine
1 pinch salt
1 c sugar
1 lg egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cup flour


Oven to 325 degrees.

1. Dissolve coffee in water. Cream butter and sugar together. Add salt,egg, vanilla and coffee sludge :).

2. Mix cocoa into the mix and slowly add in the flour - mix until dough completely even in colour. Watch the bottom too!

3. Let dough chill for 1 hour, roll out onto floured surface, cut shapes (1 inch thick), then place on baking sheet. Chill the uncooked dough in the freezer for 3 minutes (to keep the shape crisp). Bake for 7-10 minutes or until cooked through. Place on wire wrack to cool, decorate.

Hope you are all having a great Thanksgiving weekend!

Christmas decorating this weekend :: rubs hand together ::

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Recipe Snipe: Salted Caramel Shorbread Bars

Cookies and Cups posted a recipe a while back: Salted Caramel Shorbread Bars! They are as amazing as they sound! Well, she calls them Salted Caramel Butter Bars... but I would like to ignore the butter part :)

Again, being the "Baked From Scratch" person that I am, I didn't want to buy the caramels, so, I used the recipe for the caramel that I used on the Chocolate Caramel Shortbread Bars. It's just Sweet Condensed milk, butter and corn syrup, microwaved for some time (in short spurts) in a safe dish. I placed that in the middle. Not as clean as the originals - I think I'd use less butter in the caramel next time.

Still, it was a great recipe snipe. You all should try it.

Salted Caramel Butter Bars

For the Crust:
1 lb. salted butter room temp
1 cup sugar
1½ cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs vanilla
4 cups AP flour

For the Filling:
1 bag (14 oz.) caramel candies (about 50 individual caramels), unwrapped
⅓ cup cream
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 T. coarse sea salt

To make the crust:

Preheat to 325F.

In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugars. Using mixer on medium speed, beat together until creamy. Add the vanilla and beat until combined. Sift the flour into the butter mixture and beat on low speed until a smooth soft dough forms.

Spray a 9x13 inch baking pan lightly with non-stick cooking spray. Press one-third of the dough evenly into the pan to form a bottom crust.

Bake until firm and the edges are a pale golden brown approx 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool about 15 minutes.

While the bottom crust is baking and the remaining dough is chilling, make the caramel filling. Place the unwrapped caramels in a microwave-safe bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Remove from the microwave and stir until smooth. If caramels are not completely melted, microwave on high for 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until smooth.

Pour the caramel filling over the crust. If you are going to salt the caramel sprinkle it on caramel layer now.

Remove the remaining chilled dough from the refrigerator and crumble it evenly over the caramel.

Return the pan to the oven and bake until the filling is bubbly and the crumbled shortbread topping is firm and lightly golden, about 25 - 30 minutes.

Thanks Cookies N Cups!

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Sunday, November 21, 2010

YARR! I'm a Squash-Buckler

Just thought I'd share a wonderful little recipe with you all. Since I made 17 cups of squash, I've been trying to think of unique recipes and ideas. This week I made Roasted Red Pepper and Squash Soup. SOOO AMAZING! The taste of curry, squash, feta, and roasted red peppers make this such a warm soup for fall! oh my!

Roasted Red Pepper and Squash Soup

(Cook time about 30 minutes!)


1 small onion
dash paprika
2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp curry powder
1/2 tsp dill weed
3 tbsp flour
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 lg red bell pepper
1 c water
1 tbsp bouillon (powder)
3 c sweet squash puree (acorn, pumpkin, buttercup...)
Pepper to taste (for garnish as well)
Feta to garnish


NOTE: Squash should already be baked and blended smooth - you can saute it until it is tender, or bake it for 40 min in the oven, the scoop and blend. I usually do this in advance of the meal. You can get away with cooking in the saute with the bell peppers then blending after it is tender.

1. In a large pan, saute onions, and bell pepper and paprika in butter. Mix bouillon, dill, curry and flour. Once saute is tender, blend in bouillon mix until incorporated. Add in water, then chicken soup. Bring to a slow simmer. Add a dash of pepper.

2. Once boiling, remove from heat, and blend smooth in a blender (until chunks of onion and pepper [and maybe even squash] are incorporated). Return to pot on the stove, then add in the 3 cups of squash. Simmer to heat. When warm, serve topped with crumbled feta and a dash of pepper.

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Poker Card Cupcakes for the 80th B-Day

This has been a crazy couple of weeks. Mid-terms, Competitions, Work, Work, Work. It seems like I've not had a lot of time to myself to do any baking. Which makes me quite sad. So, when my friend approached me about making some special cupcakes for 'grandpa,' how could I say no?

The question? What to decorate them with. Michelle and I bounced the ideas of raspberries (for his garden), flowers (for the fake ones he likes to stick on his 8ft tall cactus), cross-cut lawn patterns on top (for his lawn love)... nothing seemed enough... then.... a light went on!

Grandpa loves Cards! Poker, Crazy-8s, Cribbage! PERFECT!

I made each card out of gum-paste, then painted each with his age, then the card symbol.

Grandpa is the ace in the hole!

Teaching has taught me a lot of things - one being that kids don't play cards anymore. Or at least not here.

When I was young I used to play cards every night with my friends. We'd pay 31, poker, 'bum'hole, 'lies', and a whole whack of other inappropriately named games. It was a lot of fun, Now that I'm older, I love to play cribbage with my friends. Still, a great night with the ladies. A lost art. The kids from the math class didn't even know what faces were on the cards (or the suits). :: Shock ::

I guess that Grandpa needs to teach the kids in our school the 'heart of the cards,' from the original sense! At least we know kids' in our school don't gamble online!

Linking up this week to Somewhat Simple, Shabby Chic Cottage, and FrouFrou Decor

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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pumpkin Pancakes: A.M on a cold day

Happy Sunday all!

I just had to share this quick recipe with you. I've been quite sick for the last week, and have not eaten very much. I decided for breakfast I'd use up the last of my buttercup squash (a sweet squash) to make some Pumpkin pancakes - Yes, you can use any sweet squash for these. I love these pancakes. The idea of having a use for the after-Halloween pumpkin (other than cookies or pie) is a good thing. These pancakes are lightly sweetened, and healthy! Great for a Sunday breakfast with the family.

Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

1 c pumpkin (or sweet squash) puree. 1 lg egg
1 1/2 c milk 2 tsp vegetable oil
2 tbsp vinegar

2 c flour 4 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp baking soda 2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp allspice 1/2 tsp ginger
2 tsp cinnamon 1/2 tsp salt


1. In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients: Flour, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar, baking powder, ginger and salt.
2. Mix wet ingredients: pumpkin, milk, vinegar, egg and oil. beat until smooth.
3. Combine dry ingredients into the wet, gently folding in just enough to combine.
4. Heat a griddle to medium heat. Pour batter onto griddle. Brown both sides, serve.

Hope you all are healthy!

I'm linkin' up with Texas Monkey for other great ideas!

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

This Cake Has Spirit!

This little cake has a whole lot of spirit! The week, the NWO (North Western Ontario) cheerleading teams got together for regional basketball tournament. This is a time to get together and stunt, cheer, and have a lot of fun! To celebrate a coming together, out team hosted a nice little pot luck which grew into a large event. We had over 100 people (66 cheer, and some odd 40 basketball players) come to dine. Man, was it fun! Everyone had a blast.

As part of the celebration, I made a cake. I originally posted the little gum-paste girl which was to be the cake topper, but held off on the cake photos - which were still in progress. Now, as you can see, the cake is done, and the photos are up! What a lot of work this all was!

There is a colour of each team from the region represented on the cake - Yellow flowers for our Muskies, Blue cake fondant for the Dryden Eagles, and a purple rose on top for the fabulous Kenora Broncos!

When I had everything all set up on went the topper. The kids went mad! It was a fabulous treat. The cake is Vanilla-Orange (since we have nut allergies) with Chocolate-Strawberry ganache filling covered in vanilla-orange buttercream, wrapped in MMF. Most kids had never tried Fondant around here, and were very happy to get the chance!

I totally forgot to take a picture of the inside of the cake. SORRY!

Such a cute little cake. Lots of fun to make, and had a great time spending it with my girls! To all the teams, great job! Hope you had as much fun as I had!

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cheerleader? Gumpaste - TIRED!

It's late. I'm tried. I'm blue, or at least my hands are from dyes. But, she's complete! I'm super excited. I've been playing a lot with Sugar Paste, and well, finally, I've created a gum-paste lady! Or, at least one I'm very happy with.

I think I'm most proud of her face, the cute little smile is just what I wanted it to be!

Now, for the cake which she will sit upon. :: Sigh ::

It's going to be a long night... I think I just lost my voice. Until Tomorrow!

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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pumpkin Gingerbread

American Thanksgiving is coming up, and my hubbie is demanding gingerbread. Has anyone noticed that the Christmas stuff is out too? I wonder if all that is connected somehow?

Anyway, I decided to do a quick batch of Pumpkin gingerbread cookies - the problem, they were very moist! So soft and chewy! Gnome liked them!

Gingerbread is very easy to make. I've seen all sorts - Molasses, without molasses, with pudding powder, with sugar and spice. I like Molasses best. What is your favorite gingerbread recipe?

I guess I don't have much else to say. Why don't you check out the link party @ 733 Blog! @ Sew Much Ado

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